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Problems at Work?

Things only you can do.

Problems at Work? | Get Help | 5 Things you can do. | Stupidity at Work | Federal Labor Laws

Things every employee should do.

Five Keys to Protecting your Job

1) Human Resources is not your friend. Never discuss your problems with anyone in Human Resources or Personnel.

2) Co-Workers will only get you into trouble. Rarely does discussing problems with co-workers result in solutions. It will however, take you away from your job and reduce your productivity just when you have to be at your best.

3) Secure your personnel records and other documents. You will need two copies of all records and documents. One copy is your control copy the other a working copy. For your control copy, seal any and all records and files in one or more tamper-proof envelopes and send these by certified mail to yourself. By doing this an undisputed time line is proven and the contents of the records cannot be altered. Your working copy is an open file that you can refer back to time and time again when needed. Since you will be adding material to your records over time, be sure to put identifiers on your working file that correspond to your control copy envelopes.

Employment records belong to the employer, not the employee. If your employer will not let you have a copy of the records, but will let you review them, here are some steps to keep those records from disappearing or being altered later:

3(a) Usually an HR person will be required to watch you review your records. Before you go to see your records, type up a simple memo that states:

I, _____________________________, am an HR staff member for (Employer's Name) and was present when (YOUR NAME) reviewed (his or her) personnel records on (actual date and time). I attest that these records are complete and that no other records exist. I also state that it was (Your Name) who numbered each page of the file.

Signed and dated

3(b) Number each page then add your initials and date, making it harder for your employer to alter or change records. An alternative to initialing each page is to do a blanket signature across all the pages at once by rolling the pages over. (See photos) Once you release the pages your signature will disappear, only you will know that the signature is there. Later if there is any question about your records you can demonstrate that a page was altered because your signature will not look correct and the page(s) without a signature fraction mark on it’s backside would be the altered or changed document.

Sign the upcurled page edges

Pages altered are easily spotted

Signature fracture on back of document

3(c) Be sure to take a note pad and take notes. These notes should include a table of contents, quotes from any document that discusses your job performance, or job expectations. (Remember it is just as important to catch your employer saying nice things about you as bad things.) If you discover anything in your file that surprised you make detailed notes of that document (or see if your employer will allow you a copy of that form or section of your file). Make sure to dispute any error.  Send a letter of correction as soon as possible after reviewing your records. Follow up to make sure your rebuttals are added to your file.

When disputing errors or misstatements of fact, etc., make sure you yourself keep to the facts.  Then read what you have written several times and remove any anger or frustration from the document before submitting it to your employer. Always make sure that your rebuttals or comments are professional and not emotional.

4) Always sign any document presented to you by your employer. This will prevent your employer from adding things to your file and stating that you refused to sign them. Here are some samples of what to add to your signature when presented with a document:

Read and agreed

I disagree with all (or part) of this document and will file a rebuttal within the next 10 business days.

On this date and time I was given a copy of this document to take with me and read. {Make sure to read the document at your first opportunity and send a note or letter confirming that you read the document and if you had any concerns about the contents of this document in this correspondence.}

Signed this date as required by my supervisor, but was not allowed a copy or time to read this document


5) Keep a work journal/diary and on a regular basis make copies of the journal pages for your control records. (Mail the copies to yourself in a tamper proof envelope as described for your personnel and other records)

 2009  The Burkman Project